Sunday, July 10, 2011

Car of the Day: July 10, 2011

Today's Car of the Day is the Grell Auto Union 1000SP.


The Auto Union 1000 was a compact front wheel drive saloon manufactured by Auto Union AG between 1958 and 1963. It was the first (and in many markets the last) model branded as an Auto Union by the manufacturer since the 1930s: it replaced the paradoxically named DKW 3=6, although the latter continued in production, reassuringly now branded as the DKW 900, for another year. The two cars were broadly similar, but the new car had its two stroke engine enlarged to 981 cc yielding a 10% - 37% (according to model) power increase.[/quote]

Appearing in 1958 was the Auto Union 1000 Sp, a low slung two seater sports car that was produced for Auto Union by the Stuttgart coach builders, Baur. The fixed head version was joined in 1961 by a cabriolet. Adorned with tail fins, the stylish modern look of the car gave rise to the "baby Thunderbird" (schmalspur Thunderbird) soubriquet in the press, and belied the fact that it was, under the skin, another Auto Union 1000, albeit one with an increased compression ratio and a claimed maximum of 55 bhp (41 kW) to place on the road. The 1000 Sp was lower but not (assuming only two people were in the car) significantly lighter than the standard bodied saloon: a claimed maximum speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) nevertheless put its performance at the top of the range.

The Düsseldorf plant produced 171,008 Auto Union 1000s during the six year model run. The pretty 1000 Sp sports version continued in production for another two years, till 1965, notching up sales of approximately 5,000 for the hard top version and 1,640 for the cabriolet.

The Auto Union and DKW brands were later discontinued after VW bought the company and re-launched the Four Rings under the Audi banner. Grell did a really good job of bringing us the two-stroke wonders of both East and West Germany and as far as I know no other model of this car has been made in small scale.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit:

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